On what would have been a relatively quiet Sunday night for most, hip-hop fans dutifully filled up Boston's tiny Paradise Rock Club from front to back, and began chanting "Baby Keem" with increasing intensity, as they attempted to coax Baby Keem onto the stage for his most recent stop on the "Melodic Tour." The sound engineer, after seeing how anxious the fans were, decided to tease them by dangling one finger above the sound system as if he was about to start the music, and bring Keem out-- only, he didn't. However, he knew not to mess with the crowd for too long, as chants turned into desperate pleas of “Press the button!” The People wanted Keem. Our unnamed sound engineer deftly pressed the button and lo and behold, Baby Keem came out running, donning a simple white tour tee, khakis, and black Converse fit, screaming, “Who the f*ck came out to party tonight?” The answer was obvious.
The crowd surged to the beat of “trademark usa” and the show was swiftly in full swing. Keem's feet barely touched the ground as he jumped quickly from track to track. Baby Keem was a man of few words, letting the music speak for itself, mostly. After a five-song run-through, the rapper finally spoke his first words of the evening to the impassioned crowd, asking if it was alright to slow it down. “HONEST” blared through the speakers and filled the room, instantly taking hold of the audience, causing everyone to sway, near tranquil, with just a hint of defiance from the ones singing back every word.
Throughout the evening, Keem seemed surprised by the love shown to him onstage, with pockets of appreciation as the rapper let the audience take over from him, filling the venue edge-to-edge with off-pitch singing. Shortened tour-ready cuts from DIE FOR MY BITCH and The Melodic Blue blasted fans through three years of the rapper’s discography, leading us to a full-circle moment, as the rapper went from being among the many day-one fans of Kanye West, to collaborating with him on his recent album, Donda.
Seconds after the late Donda West opens with her iconic speech to “Praise God,” Keem led into his verse on the track, propelling a true moment of realization into just how far the young rapper has come. With only three mixtapes and a debut album under his belt, Keem has cemented his place in the rap game, notwithstanding his producer credits on 14 out of 16 tracks on The Melodic Blue, and various others like Don Toliver’s Life of A DON. His talent has netted him collaborations with all-star players like Ye, Drake, and of course, K-Dot himself.
All this change in status hasn’t left the 21-year old’s head high up in the clouds, however. Keem is still humble, head well entrenched in the now, those moments clearly visible when he is soaking in the view of the crowd before him, filled with peers not much older than him. Perhaps for this very reason, or perhaps because his peers (who are also his fans) could not stop screaming each and every word to his songs; Keem wasn’t easily able to tear himself away from the stage after the final song, “Family Ties.” “You motherf*ckers wanna run that shit back one more time?” he exclaimed after his first rendition of the song. Resounding cries of agreement from the crowd launched the rapper into yet another powerful round of the song, perhaps setting a precedent for the rest of the tour to come, and making sure to take time to slap some hands and show appreciation to the fans one more time.